It’s been at least 730 days and most likely a lot more since I have seen sweet Jenny from Michigan (I wrote a song about her called "Atoms" -- maybe one day I'll share it) and yet today, after all those other days that have passed, over her picked apart breakfast quesadilla, she says to me something along the lines of,
“Are you sure what you’re holding out for is because it’s what you want or because of the story?”
I think I stared at my cheese grits. I think I stared at the place above her head.
I think I stared right down into myself.
This is what I have learned:
If you have a modicum of connection with someone; if you have a semblance of chemistry and physical attraction and enjoy being with them, then you can make anything work.
But what about passion? What about love?
Perhaps it’s impossible to stay “in love” with someone. It settles down, that love. It burrows into you and, if you forget to choose that person everyday, if you stop remembering that they are another human person who cannot fulfill all the places in you that you thought they could (whether conscious of it or not), if you start thinking that their mess-ups are somehow directed at you, well – then it’s easy to give up.
Even when you’re trying. Or you think you are. Sometimes your very best at the time simply is not enough for your other person. One of you is trying more than the other and vice-versa and it seems too hard to try and synch up the trying.
It’s easy to fall in love. It’s hard as fuck to stay there.
It’s easy to find yourself connecting with another person. It’s hard as fuck to remember the love and the connection. It’s hard as fuck to keep choosing to choose them.
Everything filtering through
Our separate filters
Of what is right
Of what is wrong
Of what that should mean
Of what they should’ve known
A man was watching soccer on the T.V.
At the bar at Brezza Cucina and quoted,
“If you don’t understand my silence
Then you don’t deserve my words.”
But is that truth?
And then we’re sick.
And then he’s sick.
And then you’re sick.
And then you’re both happy in Paris.
And you’re sad in Oregon
And he’s upset in North Georgia
And you’re crying because you made a mistake
And it’s scary to say you’re scared
And he’s angry because he wants what he thinks you got to have
And yet you didn’t really want it – it was a night you hate.
And then the bills.
And then the calendar.
And the kids.
And then their parents.
And then your anger.
And then his disappearing.
And then your (you’re) trying and failing.
And then his trying and failing.
And then the words.
And then the not words.
And then can’t you see I’m reaching for you?
And didn’t you know how much you were hurting me?
And yet he met you on the porch with the music and the wine and the porch swing and the chair and you could see a way through.
And you thought he could, too.
If I could draw a picture of this everyone who saw it would understand.
We have all been here. There. Everywhere.
Where two are gathered together eventually someone is going to be in a lot of pain.
I’m hurting you’re hurting we’re hurting we hurt.
And if a bomb didn’t know it was a bomb
Went off; blew everyone to bits, including itself,
What does that say about the bomb?
Do any of us really know what we are these days?
I saw myself as crawling up a mountain and all you could see were the rocks that were hitting you in my wake.
While you were secretly mapping a new way
I took for granted that what we had was invincible.
I thought we were invincible.
We could still be invincible.
Tell ‘em David,
“We could be Heroes.”
And then you meet a person.
And you weren’t expecting to meet a person.
And it’s easy.
And you think to yourself,
“This is lovely.”
And your heart shakes its head and pinches its forehead
And your brain shifts in its seat and looks at you knowingly
And you look back and say,
And they say,
And you say,
“What else am I supposed to do? I was easy to love once. He put it in a picture, on a train, in the middle of the night. Perhaps I can be again.”
It hits you then, that yes – you are easy to love.
You stop waiting for someone to tell you you’re loved and you just decide to love yourself.
THAT IS HARD TO DO.
But then Jenny is sitting there, all aquamarine eyes and talking of the Good Book, and making you laugh and the cream in your coffee is still swirling and waiting for a spoon and you think of the man with the drums and the glasses and the big big heart who sends you songs he’s written who uses “ameliorate” in a sentence who does better accents than you who suffers from a Catholic-like contrition who makes benches for an animal hospital who tries to roller skate and shares his nachos and who tells you you’re beautiful and tells you you’re amazing and tells you he likes you a lot and yet you realize he knows nothing about you (does he really want to?) or your broken broken broken heart and your mangled mangled mangled life and you imagine walking up to him, holding a shoe – maybe one of your favorite red boots – and saying,
“I am a complicated literal bi-polar woman who loves hard, fucks up a lot, night owl who suffers from insomnia, who suffers with out of nowhere migraines, who feels too much and thinks too much and imagines too much who used to be so so angry about all the wrong things and is learning how to not be angry and be grateful for all of the right things and yet who is TRYING SO GODDAMN HARD TO DO THE FUCKING BEST I CAN. I have jiggly bits and not so jiggly bits and nice tits that sag a little and blue eyes and I can sing and I like to dance, maybe not well but I like to dance, and I like to make things out of bits of paper and I like to paint googly-eyes on thrift store paintings and drink cheap beer in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes I cry and then get mad ‘cause I cried and I don’t sweat in a pretty way, mostly I turn red and just look weird, and I snore and my hair turns into really bad art installations in the middle of the night, and I’ve made two people in my life – one out of youth and one out of deep deep love -- and I’m stinkin’ proud of both of my peoples and I’ll most likely be a really adorable old lady and I can tell a good joke and I don’t laugh I cackle and I’m smart and I read and I start things I don’t finish and I finish things I didn’t mean to start and I am the villain in someone else’s story and a hero in someone else’s and I stand in the middle of this doorway between when I was born and when I will die and I AM JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW NOT TO FUCK MORE THINGS UP.”
This is where you imagine dropping your red boot on the ground and then you say,
“There; the other shoe just dropped.”
Jenny is watching the video of him playing the guitar and I say,
“Watch, he’ll smile at the camera in a bit; I love that part.”
I will be 38 in five days.
What have I learned?
We are all just walking each other home. We are all doing our best to survive. We are all trying.